Township realignments met with opposition

Township realignments met with opposition

GREENE COUNTY, Ark. (KAIT) - Some big changes were officially decided on Friday morning in Greene County, and a lot of people weren’t very happy with the outcome.

Greene County Judge Rusty McMillon made the decision to realign the township borders from 24 townships to six.

A lot of citizens spoke out about the changes at the meeting on Friday morning.

“I’ve been studying this since 2015, at various times throughout each year,” said McMillon. “This will allow the election commission to move forward with some better efficiencies.”

The changes will also cut the number of constables down to six, one for each new township.

Counties are allowed to have one elected constable per township within the county.

Greene County currently has 22 constables.

Ronnie Wood is Justice of the Peace for District 11 in Greene County.

His main concern is how the new borders will affect polling sites in rural areas like Lafe and Lorado.

“I came here to protect the polling places and the citizen’s rights of the county, I’m concerned about the county,” said Wood.

Judge McMillon said the number of polling sites isn’t directly affected by the new border changes.

“The polling sites are set by the election commission," said McMillon. "This just reduces our townships and allows us to reduce the number of different ballots that we would have for consideration.”

During Friday’s meeting, it was brought up that some polling sites may be closed, but that was due to lack of ADA compliance at certain sites, not because the township borders are changing.

Citizens at the meeting were also concerned about the number of constables being reduced, saying they don’t see enough sheriff’s deputies in their rural areas.

The majority of the citizens at Friday’s public meeting were against the changes, but it didn’t require a vote and was moved forward after the meeting.

“I’m really disappointed in our county judge and what he’s doing,” said Wood.

Judge McMillon said the current constables will remain until Dec. 31, 2020.

He said he’ll be looking for funding to hire more patrol officers within the Sheriff’s Department to help with county patrol once the constable terms are up.

Any polling site changes made by the election commission would be put in place by the March 2020 primary.

The new borders will also have no impact on what parts of Greene County are dry or wet.

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